Fans of America's Next Top Model were floored by Friday's news that longtime judges J. Alexander, Jay Manuel and Nigel Barker had been fired from the show.
But Barker, at least, was expecting the bad news for a while.
"It wasn't a shock. I'm friends with Tyra [Banks] and the producers," the British photographer, 39, told E! News. "There had been a discussion that ratings were down and that something like this would happen."
Barker, Manuel, 39, and Alexander, 53, had been with the show for all 17 cycles since it began in 2003.
Said Tyra Banks on Friday's Facebook announcement of the trio's departure: "Working with you [three] is always an absolute pleasure. Excited for what the future holds for us."
Barker added to E! that he'd been up for elimination before. "There had been previous years where discussions about me being eliminated from the show had happened and I had actually survived the chopping block before."
And Barker insists there's no bitterness against host and producer Banks, 38. "We had an incredible run," he said. "This isn't a Tyra thing. This is a network thing. My contract was so exclusive that it was holding me back from other projects."
He adds that he's working on "creating my own show that focuses on some of my passions like photography."
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